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Anyone who has ever surrendered her or his body to the hands of a capable masseuse knows that the very word “massage” is an inappropriate word for what takes place on the massage table.

“Listening to the body” is the better way to describe the experience. A masseuse touches your body, and every place she touches cries out in relief. That’s because we carry our pain around in our bodies.

If you’re wise, you will listen to your body. Listen to what your shoulders, neck, wrists, back, and even buttocks are trying to tell you. Every ache and pain has a message for you. Memories, perhaps, that you tried to forget. Anger you never articulated. Loss you swore you’d gotten over. Embarrassment you had to swallow. Disappointment you pretended not to feel. Ideas you never did anything about. Listen. Pay attention.

Journal about the parts of your body that have been in pain recently. Try listening to what your bad back may be trying to tell you. Are there any unnecessary burdens and responsibilities you’ve taken on lately? Could it be that your aching feet are smarter than your think? Perhaps you’ve veered off track and on a path that’s not right for you.

The body has its share of wisdom. Listen to it.

–Renita Weems

Read the introduction to this journal

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